60,000 visitors showed up at the new Broad Contemporary Art Museum wing of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) opening weekend to celebrate. The new wing, designed by Renzo Piano, who has completed over a dozen museum designs, has, yet, another five on the boards in his offices in Genoa and Paris. Piano, the man who seems to have been branded "the museum architect" is now 70 years old. His first museum project, the Pompidou Center, in Paris (1978), remains, even today, controversial. And, the Broad is no different.
This article in the Los Angeles Times explains some of the politics and inside stories about the the struggles between the new Director of LACMA, Michael Govan, and Eli Broad, the billionaire LACMA trustee and donor and, Piano, the renowned designer. This story could soon be a movie in your local theater!
This longer, reviting article about the Broad Contemporary, in the New York Review of Books, provides a deeper prospective on the museum world and the politics of the collections and the personalities that drive all of it. It is a great read. Our favorite line from this article is a quote from New York Times critic Richard Lacayo, from his blog, saying, "LACMA got screwed." And you thought museums were stuffy.
All in all, there is an excitement and intrigue in the architectural world that defies its appearance of organized and linear sensibilities. The Broad Contemporary is proof. It's a terrific story.
Rezno Piano Building Workshop, the official Renzo Piano website
Renzo Piano Museums, by Renzo Piano, introdution, Victoria Newsome, hardcover edition
Renzo Piano, Time Magazine, April 30, 2006, author, Richard Rogers